Thursday, April 18, 2013

Communion with Jesus

And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”   Luke 19:7

We can’t sustain the burdens we carry in life.  Regularly, we need to unload, unhitch and be free of them.  Even Jesus needed to rest and relax.

The phrase to be the guest of means “to unloose what was before bound or fastened, to refresh oneself, to lodge, to be a guest.” It was used in Jesus’ day to refer to travelers taking off luggage from their backs and the backs of their animals when they stopped to lodge for a night or for any period of time.

Zacchaeus, in accepting Jesus’ invitation to come to his house, was in effect saying to Jesus, “Come on over, take your load off and allow me to refresh you.” The irony is, that in going to his home, Jesus was saying to Zacchaeus, “Let me come into your home and unburden you and refresh you.”  The reality is that the blessing and unburdening was mutual.

Have you ever considered that communion with Jesus is a ministry to Jesus?  That we actually can serve Him not by doing, but simply by being in His presence, worshipping Him and interacting with him?  When I consider the rhythms of my life from this perspective, it is transformative! 

In his classic work, My Heart Christ’s Home, Bob Munger describes a scene that takes place in the living room between Jesus and an owner of a house where Jesus was invited to be a guest.  I have never forgotten this scene:

I remember one morning when I was in a hurry, rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. As I passed the living room, the door was open. Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, “He was my guest. I invited Him into my heart!  He has come as Lord of my home. And yet here I am neglecting Him.”

I turned and went in. With downcast glance, I said, “Blessed Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?” “Yes," He said, “I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you.”  He had been faithful in spite of my faithfulness. I asked His forgiveness and He readily forgave me as He does when we are truly repentant.

Jesus then looked at me and lovingly said, “The trouble with you is this: you have been thinking of the quiet time, of the Bible study and prayer time, as a factor in your own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour means something to me also. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Now,” He said, "do not neglect this hour if only for my sake. Whatever else may be your desire, remember I want your fellowship!”

Jesus has an incredible offer for each of us!  The opportunity to unburden ourselves in His presence and, as well, to minister to Him through intentional communion with him.  I don’t know how to say this any other way: you will never grow in Christlikeness without a regular rhythm of this type of communion with Jesus!  What would that look like for you?  Why not open your “smartphone” and schedule daily appointments with Jesus?

This Sunday, we will study in more detail the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus in Luke 19:1-10.  I so look forward to our Sundays, when we corporately lay down our burdens before the Lord and allow Him to be worshiped and glorified.

I love being your pastor!